A national training provider with nearly £2.5m of contracts last year has gone into administration with the loss of 40 jobs.

The move has affected the education of 450 learners handled by Birmingham-based Skillsfinder UK Training.

The firm, set up last year, had contracts with lead providers Total People and Remit. It also dealt with Tribal Education.

Craig Povey and Richard Toone, from national accountancy firm Chantrey Vellacott DFK, have been appointed joint administrators.

Mr Povey said: “Skillsfinder had a number of contracts to deliver training to young people between the ages of 16 and 24 that it subcontracted out to other providers.

“It appears the company’s business model failed which has, in turn, had a knock-on effect to other providers all over the country.”

He said the administrators were reviewing the company’s assets and were talking to providers to try to support the affected trainees.

According to the Skillsfinder website, the original company was created in 2007 as a “learner finder” organisation. It went on to subcontract apprenticeship training services to around 75 organisations across the UK.

It appears the company’s business model failed which has, in turn, had a knock-on effect to other providers all over the country.”

A spokesperson for Tribal Education said: “Tribal subcontracted tutor and assessor support for a cohort of learners to Skillsfinder in a number of qualification areas.
“We are now finding alternative support arrangements.

“We have contacted all our learners and their employers to explain the situation, and have reassured them we are working towards finding replacement support.

“We will be regularly updating our learners on our progress. We aim to ensure that the change won’t delay the completion of their apprenticeships.”

Remit chief operating officer Steve Yardley said: “As a national training provider we have worked with Skillsfinder to assist them in securing government funding to support their learners.

“Over the coming days and weeks we will be doing everything we can to transfer as many of their learners and appropriate staff to Remit. Our team is now making contact with all learners and is in the process of obtaining all relevant documentation to try to ensure there is minimal disruption to their apprenticeships and employment.”

Total People associate director Janice Woolley said: “We had a service level agreement with Skillsfinder for a small cohort of 16 learners linked to one employer.

“The learners still linked to Total People have achieved their level two apprenticeships and are just waiting for their full framework certificate.

“We were informed by Skillsfinder that learners had already progressed on to a level three programme through a different subcontract arrangement.”

A Skills Funding Agency spokesperson said: “We have a duty to ensure learner interests are being protected and are working with Remit and Tribal Education to ensure all learners affected by the closure are being supported in every way possible and are able continue their learning.

“Remit and Tribal have written to employers and learners to outline the support available and a dedicated helpline number and email address have been set up.

“Both Remit and Tribal are also working with learners that have been made redundant as a result of Skillsfinder going into administration to try to secure alternative employment opportunities, to ensure that apprenticeships can be completed.”

Skillsfinder’s former director, Neil Harrup, was not available for comment.

Chris Martin, Skillsfinder’s quality and development manager, was a director in Luis Michael Training, which delivered apprenticeships in sport. The provider is currently being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office, as previously reported in FE Week.

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